Cultural diversity

Publications and Studies

How the United States Funds the Arts

National Endowment for the Arts, October 2004 - 2004/10

Mr. Tyler Cowen, a professor at George Mason University and member of the UNESCO committee of independent experts that developed the draft convention on cultural diversity, wrote this report published by the National Endowment for the Arts. Recognizing the U.S. government’s role in supporting domestic cultural organizations, art institutions, and artists themselves, the document provides a helpful overview of public and private funding for the arts in the United States. While the report acknowledges that this federal agency’s role is often misunderstood, NEA chairman Dana Gioia states in the preface that he is impressed by the ingenious diversity and endless creativity of ways in which the arts are funded in the United States. However, he maintains that the subsidies provided by different levels of U.S. government are small compared to other countries that massively subsidize the arts, like France, Germany, Mexico, China, and Italy.

An article published by the Sacramento Bee in November 2003 contends that severe budget cuts have reduced government support for the arts in California too far, considering that Canada spends an average of $145 annually per capita on the arts, Germany $85, New York State $2.75, Mississippi $1.31, and California $0.30. Consequently, the author urges the government to do more to foster creative talent.

The National Endowment for the Arts also published an overview of measures and actions by the various levels of U.S. government in support of the arts between 1965 and 2000. ( Available in English only ) [80]